The Virginia Citizens Defense League is Pressuring the Petersburg City Council over a New Gun Ban on City Property

The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is calling for a pressure campaign on the members of the Petersburg City Council after the council approved a gun ban on city property similar to bans enacted in other localities.

“Petersburg slipped through local gun-control a few days ago and we (and almost everyone else, including the Petersburg police) just learned about it yesterday,” a VCDL alert said.

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New Poll Shows Virginia Gubernatorial Race in a ‘Dead Heat’

A new poll announced Thursday has Virginia’s gubernatorial race in a statistical tie, with early voting beginning Friday. According to an Emerson College poll commissioned by WRIC, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has the support of 49 percent of likely voters while GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin has 45 percent. That’s within the margin of error: plus or minus 3.4 percent.

“Statistically speaking, the poll isn’t telling you that McAuliffe is going to win or Youngkin is going to lose. It is really saying it is a dead heat,” Emerson College Polling Director Spencer Kimball told WRIC.

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Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Monument to Come Down After Virginia Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuits Blocking Removal

The Virginia Supreme Court dissolved injunctions blocking the removal of the Lee monument in Richmond, according to an opinion and an order published by the court on Thursday. In June 2020, Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the monument, which sits on a small piece of land owned by Virginia in the middle of Richmond. Courts issued injunctions to prevent removal while considering two lawsuits challenging the legal authority to remove the monument.

In Taylor v. Northam, plaintiffs argued that documents from the late 1800s prevent the removal. But the court said that the restrictive covenants are unenforceable, and said that they unreasonably try to force government speech indefinitely.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Update: Youngkin Spends on More Down-Ballot Races, Competing Ads on Crime, Two New Polls Released

Glenn Youngkin is touting third wave of funding from his down-ballot-focused Virginia Wins PAC, which has supported 73 candidates and disbursed almost $250,000, according to a Youngkin press release. The funding has gone to candidates for General Assembly, local boards of supervisors, city councils, and Commonwealth’s attorney.

“With Virginia Wins, we will bring an entire crop of leaders to take back our Commonwealth and support conservative solutions so that when I’m governor we can deliver strong results for the people of Virginia,” Youngkin said in the release. “Republicans in my beloved home state have been overwhelmed by outside money from George Soros and others backing left-liberal candidates. So now we’re fighting back and investing in building our team for the long haul. Together, we can elect a wave of Republicans, bring common-sense values back to our school boards and city councils, and begin the work of making Virginia the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family.”

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Virginia House Democrats Defeat Republican Proposals to Alter American Rescue Plan Act Spending Bill

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates voted against several Republican attempts to change proposals to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on Tuesday afternoon. House Republicans led by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) introduced an alternate bill, but it was defeated 53 to 43. House Democrats also defeated amendments from Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) and attorney general candidate Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach).

“It is a shame that despite our concerns that this process was not opened up to the traditional committee vetting process, that members on this side of the aisle were told, and frankly on your side of the aisle were told, ‘Your input is not welcome.’ I would have hoped that in this process we would have at least been afforded the opportunity to explain our bill, but instead we are left with the inevitable two minutes,” Gilbert said.

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Virginia Prosecutor: No Improper Benefit for Stoney in Richmond Monument Removal Contract

A special prosecutor, working with the Virginia State Police (VSP), found no evidence that Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney improperly benefited from the contract to remove Richmond’s monuments last summer.

“The investigation did not reveal anything criminal regarding the awarding of the contract,” Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Timothy Martin said in a Wednesday press release.

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Court Dismisses Lawsuits over Virginia Department of Education’s Model Transgender Policies

Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Watson dismissed lawsuits challenging the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) model transgender policies. In the decision published Tuesday, Watson found that the plaintiffs the Christian Action Network (CAN) and the Founding Freedoms Law Center (FFLC) do not have standing. The plaintiffs had argued that the VDOE improperly responded to public comments.

“VDOE contends that the appellants are not aggrieved by the model policies, which are directed not at the appellants but at the local school boards, which have flexibility to fashion policies consistent with the model policies,” Watson’s decision states. “In these cases, the appellants do not have standing to challenge the model policies. Their dissatisfaction with VDOE’s response to their comments does not create an immediate, pecuniary, or substantial interest in this litigation, but only a remote or indirect interest.”

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Biden Stumps for Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe

ARLINGTON, Virginia – President Joe Biden joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at Lubber Run Community Center on Friday evening. Biden, McAuliffe, and leading Virginia Democrats hyped progress made under their administrations and repeatedly linked GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin to former President Donald Trump.

“Terry and I, we share a lot in common. I ran against Donald Trump, so is Terry,” Biden said to laughter and applause. “And I beat Donald Trump in Virginia and so will Terry.”

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Former Governor Wilder Criticizes McAuliffe for Running Again; Trump Supports Youngkin; Youngkin and McAuliffe Trade Blows

Governor Douglas Wilder

Former Democratic Governor Douglas Wilder handed Glenn Youngkin a messaging win July 2 when he criticized Terry McAuliffe on The Jeff Katz Show. Wilder attacked McAuliffe for seeking the support of Governor Ralph Northam after previously calling for Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring to resign during Blackface scandals.

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Virginia Among 37 States Suing Google

Virginia is one of 37 states suing Google for alleged anti-competitive and unfair business practices, Attorney General Mark Herring announced Wednesday.

“Google has really become a major player in the tech market, so much so that its products play a role in almost every aspect of Virginians’ daily lives, including their cell phones and the apps that they use on a regular basis,” Herring said in a press release.

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Virginia’s Dem Candidates for Governor Refuse to Meet with Police Union

The Virginia Police Benevolent Association (VPBA) blasted the Democrat Party’s candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, after none of them showed up to a candidate screening event Thursday. 

“We are concerned and surprised that none of the Democratic candidates were willing to meet with our representatives and discuss issues that are important to our members,” Sean McGowan, executive director of the VBPA reportedly said. “This is the first time in the history of the Virginia PBA that an entire ticket refused to meet with our law enforcement representatives.”

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Virginia Attorney General Candidates Attack Each Other’s Weaknesses at First Debate

Attorney General Mark Herring and Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) laid out competing visions for the Office of Attorney General in their first debate Tuesday.

Herring said the attorney general should work for safety, justice, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians. “I believe the attorney general should be the people’s lawyer,” Herring said.

In his opening remarks, Miyares cited his experience as a prosecutor, “which I think is so important when you’re running to be Virginia’s top cop,” he said.

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Independent Investigators Release Report on Investigation into Virginia Parole Board Investigation

Independent investigators found probable bias in the Office of the State Inspector General’s investigation (OSIG) into the Vincent Martin parole case, according to a report released Monday. The report says that OSIG’s investigation was not thorough enough and says OSIG failed to identify likely bias in its Senior Investigator Jennifer Moschetti. It also says the OSIG investigation and findings were not influenced by Governor Ralph Northam.

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Youngkin Nearly Tied with McAuliffe in New Poll; DPVA and RPV Attack Each Other’s Candidates

The Virginia gubernatorial race is neck-and-neck, according to a new poll. 46 percent of respondents support former Governor Terry McAuliffe and 42 percent support GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin, with a 4.2 percent margin of error. The phone poll of 550 likely voters was conducted by JMC Analytics from June 9-12, and was commissioned by CNalysis with funds from 141 donors.

House of Delegates races are even closer. The poll found that 44 percent would support a Democratic candidate for House and 43 percent would support a Republican candidate. Democrats have stronger leads in the Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor elections.

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Virginia Democratic Ticket for November: McAuliffe, Herring, and Ayala

Former governor Terry McAuliffe will again be Virginia Democrats’ nominee for governor, according to the Virginia Public Access Project which called the race on Tuesday evening. Incomplete unofficial results showed McAuliffe soundly beating all four of his challengers.

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Primary Day: Democrats Pick Their Ticket, GOP Watches House Primaries in Districts 9, 83

Virginia Democrats have been voting for months, but Tuesday is the final day of voting in the Democratic primaries for governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor. The races have highlighted a contrast between progressive and establishment wings of the party, with battles over identity, past scandals, and private versus corporate campaign funding. But Tuesday’s voting includes both Democratic and Republican primaries for House of Delegates districts across the state.

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Office of Attorney General Investigating Republican Allegations That Richmond Electoral Board Violated Party Observer Requirement

The Office of the Attorney General is investigating allegations from the Richmond City Republican Committee (RCRC) that two Democrats from the Richmond Electoral Board opened election result envelopes without a Republican observer present, according to ABC8 News.

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Chesapeake Doctor Who Performed Unnecessary Hysterectomies Sentenced to 59 Years in Prison

Former Chesapeake doctor Javaid Perwaiz has been sentenced to 59 years in prison on 52 counts of health care fraud and other charges. Perwaiz was convicted of performing unnecessary procedures including hysterectomies and early induced labor as part of an insurance fraud scheme from 2010 to 2019.

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Court Dismisses Chase’s Lawsuit over Censure by the Virginia Senate

The Eastern District Court of Virginia dismissed Senator Amanda Chase’s (R-Chesterfield) lawsuit over her censure by the Senate. On Wednesday, Judge Robert Payne granted a motion to dismiss filed by Attorney General Mark Herring on behalf of the Senate and the Clerk of the Senate. In April, Herring argued that the Senate and the Clerk have sovereign immunity and that the Senate’s decision to censure is a “non-justiciable” political question.

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Virginia’s Attorney General Appeals In Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Lawsuit

Mark Herring

Attorney General Mark Herring has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in a lawsuit seeking to have Virginia’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) recognized.

“The United States cannot continue forcing women to wait to be recognized as equal under this country’s founding document,” Herring said in a May 3 press release.

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Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association Starts Podcast Series on 2021 Candidates and Healthcare

Set up of podcast with microphone and desktop computer with editing software.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) have announced a podcast series focusing on the 2021 candidates for office and their stances on healthcare. The series features statewide candidates from both parties addressing the healthcare issues of the Commonwealth. 

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Law Firm Nixon Peabody Appointed Investigator of Investigation into Virginia Parole Board

Travis Hil

Attorney General Mark Herring’s office announced that major international law firm Nixon Peabody LLP will investigate the Office of the State Inspector General’s investigation of the Virginia Parole Board. The firm is required to send a report on the investigation to leading Virginia elected officials from both parties by June 15, 2021.

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Wason Center Releases New Democratic Primary Poll the Day Before Early Voting Begins

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) withdrew from the race for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor after campaign finance reports revealed she was trailing financially, sixth out of seven among the Democratic candidates. But a new Christopher Newport University/Wason Center Poll released Thursday shows that Guzman was polling in second place for the nomination even as she dropped out of the race. The poll places Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) at the head of the race for Lieutenant Governor with 12 percent, Guzman came in second with 4 percent, and 64 percent of voters were undecided. None of the other candidates scored more than two percent.

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General Assembly Republicans Call for Special Session to Investigate Virginia Parole Board

General Assembly Republicans renewed calls for a special session to investigate the Virginia Parole Board (VPB) after media obtained recordings of a call held last summer between Northam administration officials and State Inspector General Michael Westfall.

House of Delegates Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said in a Monday press release, “The recording of the meeting between the Office of State Inspector General and Governor  [Ralph] Northam’s team explains why the Governor’s budget amendment only called for an investigation of OSIG, and not the Parole Board. The Governor’s office doesn’t think the Parole Board did anything wrong.”

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Virginia State Police to Investigate Windsor Traffic Stop Use-of Force

The Virginia State Police (VSP) are investigating the December traffic stop of Army officer Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who was pepper sprayed by officers from the Town of Windsor, according to press releases from Town Manager William Saunders. In a Sunday evening press release, Saunders announced that Officer Joe Gutierrez, one of the officers from the stop, had been fired. The incident has become a subject of statements by candidates for public office. It has also drawn the attention of Governor Ralph Northam, who said he was ordering a VSP investigation, and Attorney General Mark Herring.

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Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Face off in Debate

Four of the five Democratic candidates for Governor discussed legal reform, racial justice, environmental justice, and good government in a debate hosted by The Virginia People’s Debates. Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), Jennifer Carrol Foy, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax participated; front-runner Terry McAuliffe was absent.

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Northam Snubs Herring, Endorses Jones for Attorney General

Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) picked up a big endorsement in the race for Attorney General this week. Governor Ralph Northam chose to endorse Jones instead of incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, Northam’s former running mate.

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Year-End Campaign Fundraising Haul for Virginia’s Statewide Candidates Shows McAuliffe Far Ahead, Followed by Foy

With Virginia’s statewide elections for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general drawing ever closer, candidates’ campaign finance reports literally show who has been busy fundraising, but can also offer an early glimpse of their viability in the races. 

On Saturday, year-end fundraising reports, covering the second half of last year from July 1st to December 31st, for each statewide candidate were released to the public. The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) compiled the numbers and listed the cash on hand for each candidate.

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Chesterfield Supervisor Leslie Haley Announces Run for Attorney General

Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors member and lawyer Leslie Haley announced her bid for the Republican nomination in the 2021 Virginia attorney general election on Thursday. 

Haley, who has represented the Midlothian District on the board since 2016 with stints as both the chair and vice chair, launched her campaign to be the Commonwealth’s top attorney through a press release and short video. 

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Bill Giving AG Increased Authority to Investigate Patterns of Misconduct by Police Signed into Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law on Wednesday that gives the state attorney general additional powers to investigate unlawful patterns or practices by law enforcement officers and file civil action to stop the misconduct.

Introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), Senate Bill 5024 was one of several bills approved by the governor this week.

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Trial to Decide Fate of Robert E. Lee Statue Underway in Richmond

The trial over a lawsuit aiming to stop Governor Ralph Northam from removing the statue of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee began Monday morning in Richmond.

After the death of George Floyd, the Lee monument and other Confederate statues throughout the city became a focal point of the summer protests over racial inequality and police brutality in Richmond.

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Christian Wedding Photographer and Ministries Sue Virginia Over Law Banning LGBTQ Discrimination

A Christian wedding photographer and two churches, three Christian schools, and a pro-life ministry sued Virginia for its LGBTQ discrimination law. The plaintiffs argue that the law is a violation of religious freedom in the First Amendment.

The Christian plaintiffs say the state law forces their hand. If they don’t forsake God’s commandments, they could endure hundreds of thousands or more in fines and litigation fees. And, they could face a court order to adhere to the law. These individuals are also prohibited from expressing any religious beliefs that may be perceived as discriminatory.

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Kanye West’s Appeal to Appear on Virginia’s Ballot Rejected

Kanye West will not appear on Virginia’s ballot this fall after the state’s Supreme Court denied his appeal Thursday.

The rapper was originally removed from the ballot after a judge granted a temporary injunction sought by Attorney General Mark Herring. West’s campaign appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court in response.

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Virginia Judge Bars Lee Statue Removal for 90 Days

A judge on Monday dissolved one injunction preventing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond but immediately instituted a new one in a different lawsuit.

The new 90-day injunction issued by Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant bars the statue’s removal while the claims in a lawsuit filed by a group of Richmond property owners are litigated.

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